Skip to main content

About this Show

Tonight From Washington

News/Business. News.

NETWORK

DURATION
03:00:00

RATING

SCANNED IN

SOURCE

TUNER

VIDEO CODEC
mpeg2video

AUDIO CODEC
ac3

PIXEL WIDTH
704

PIXEL HEIGHT
480

TOPIC FREQUENCY

Iraq 42, Us 31, U.s. 22, Afghanistan 21, Washington 14, United States 11, Sharia 9, Israel 6, Bush 4, John Boehner 4, New York 4, Europe 4, Moscow 4, George W. Bush 3, Koran 3, Robert Gibbs 3, Al Qaeda 3, Nigeria 3, Joe Biden 3, Iran 3,
Borrow a DVD
of this show
  CSPAN    Tonight From Washington    News/Business. News.  

    August 31, 2010
    8:00 - 11:00pm EDT  

8:00pm
them not feel that this is a world apart. to let them know that this belongs to you, this is part of your legacy as an american citizen. >> what about the kids? what is their reaction question mark -- what is their reaction? >> that would be comfortable just about anywhere. the degree to which they have adapt to this place is pretty extraordinary. they treated just like home, and that is exactly what we want. it is a little bigger than at our place in chicago. part of that is because the staff has been so wonderful to them. and helpful to them. they are having a ball. .
8:01pm
8:02pm
8:03pm
a war became a fight against an insurgency. terrorists threaten to tear iraq apart. thousands of americans gave their lives tens of thousands have been wounded. our relations abroad were strained. these are the rough waters encountered during the course of one america's longest wars. if there has been one constant of the myths the shifting tide at every turn, america's men and women in uniform have served with courage and resolve. i am incredibly proud of their service the debt like all americans, -- service. like all americans, i am awed by their sacrifice. they completed every mission
8:04pm
they were given. they defeated a regime that terrorize the people. our troops fought block by block to help iraq seized the chance for a better future. they shifted taxes to protect the iraqi people. they train security forces and took out terrorist leaders. because of our troops and civilians and the resilience of the iraqi people, iraq has the opportunity to embrace a new destiny. many tons is remain. tonight i am announcing that the american combat mission in iraq has ended. operation iraqi freedom is over. the iraqi people now have the lead responsibility for the security of their country. this is my plan is the american people as candidates. last february, announced a plan to bring our brigade out of
8:05pm
iraq while redoubling our efforts to strengthen the security forces and support the people. that is what we have done. we will remove 100,000 troops from iraq. we have moved millions of pieces of equipment out of iraq. this completes the transition to iraqi responsibility for their own security. u.s. troops pulled out last summer. iraqi forces had moved into the lead with considerable skill and commitment to their fellow citizens. even as they continue to suffer terrorist attacks, security infancies have been near the lowest on record since the war began. iraqi forces had taken the fight to al qaeda. this year sell iraq called
8:06pm
incredible elections i drew a strong turnout. a caretaker administration is in place. tonight i encourage the leaders to move forward with a sense of urgency in coming to form a government that is just representative and accountable to the iraqi people. there should be no doubt that the people will have a strong partner in the united states. going forward, and the transitional force of u.s. troops will remain in iraq with a different mission. they will support iraqi troops in targeted counter-terrorism missions and protecting our civilians. a consistent with our agreement with the government come on u.s. troops will leave by the end of next year as our military draws
8:07pm
down, are dedicated civilians are moving into the lead to support iraq as a result political disputes and builds ties with the region in the world. that is the message vice- president by then is delivering to the people during his visit today. it reflects our long-term partnership. it is based upon mutual interest and mutual respect violence will not in with our combat mission. extremist will continue to set off bombs and attacks civilians and tried to sparked strikes. ultimately, the terrorists will fail to achieve their goals. iraqis are proud people. then no interest in analyst discussion.
8:08pm
they know they can resolve their differences and police their streets. on the iraqis can build a democracy within their borders. what american can-do and will do is provide support for the iraqi people as both a friend and a partner. ending this war is not only in the rocks interest, it is in our own. united states has paid a huge prize to put it in the hands of their people. we have sent our young men and women to face sacrifices. we have persevered because of a belief we share with the people. we believe a new beginning of the corn in this cradle of civilization. should this remarkable chapter meet, we have met our
8:09pm
responsibilities. it is time to turn the page. it is time to turn the page i spoke to former president george w. bush today. it is long known that he and i disagreed about the war. no one can doubt the support for our troops or his love of country and commitment of their patriotism port of this war. all of us are united in appreciation. the greatness of our democracy is grounded in our ability and to learn from our experience. no challenge is essential to our security in our fight against al
8:10pm
qaeda. we must never lose sight of what is at stake. as we speak, al qaeda continues to plot against they remain anchored in the border regions of afghanistan and pakistan. we will disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al qaeda. because of our drawdown in iraq, we are able to replied the resources necessary to go on offense. nearly one dozen al qaeda leaders in the past month have been killed or captured around the world. within afghanistan, i have
8:11pm
deployed additional troops who under general petraeus are fighting to break the taliban momentum. the forces will be in place for a limited time to provide space for the afghans to build their capacity and secure their own future. as was the case in iraq, they cannot do for afghans what they must ultimately do for themselves. that is why we are treating afghan security forces and supporting a political resolution to the afghan province. next august, we will begin a transition to afghan responsibility. the pace of our troop reductions will be determined by conditions on the ground. our support will indoor. make no mistake. this transition will begin. open-ended war serves neither our interest or the african peoples. one of the lessons of our
8:12pm
efforts in iraq is that the american influence around the world is not a function of military force alone. we must use all elements of our power including our diplomacy, economic strength, and the power of america's example to secure our interest in san by our allies. we must reject a vision of the future based on our hopes, a vision that recognizes the fact that exist around the world and the possibility. they are at peace for the emerging democracies are potential partners. new markets are a good stretcher aged to the americas. a new push for peace in the middle east to begin here. billions again people want to move beyond the shackles of poverty. as a leader of the free world, america will do more than just
8:13pm
the on the battlefield. -- that offer heat. we will also lead among those that are willing to work together to expand freedom and opportunity for all people. that effort must begin within our own borders. we have understood that our nation's strength its influence abroad must be firmly anchored in our prosperity at home. the bedrock must be a growing middle class. unfortunately, over the last day, we have not done what is necessary to shore of the foundations of our own prosperity. we spent $1 trillion at war by borrowing from overseas and our own finance. it has shortchange investments in our own field and triggered
8:14pm
record deficit. we have put of tough decisions him everything from our manufacturing base to our energy policy to education reform. to many middle-class families find themselves working harder for less. our long-term competitiveness is put at risk protoc. as the wind down the war, we must tackle the challenges at home with as much energy and sense of common purpose as our men and women in uniform who have served abroad. they have met every test that they have faced. knapp it is our term. it is our responsibility to cominme gathered to meet the dream for anyone who is willing to work and reach for it. our task is to restore the
8:15pm
confidence and put billions of americans have lost their jobs back to work. minke strengthen the middle class. we must give them all the education they deserve and are workers the skills they need compete in the global economy. we must jump start in issues that create jobs and our dependence on foreign oil. stocthis will be difficult. in the days to come, and must be our essential mission as our people. part in the responsibility is making sure the we honor our commitments to those of served our country with ballots. as long as i am president, we retain the force of the world has known. we will do whatever it takes to serve our veterans as low as they have served us.
8:16pm
this is a sacred trust. that is why we are made with the largest increases in funding for veterans in decades. we are treating the signature wounds of war by providing the health care and benefits that all of our veterans have earned. we are finding a post-9/11 gi bill that helps them pursue their dream of a college education. it this one of those that fought world war ii. it helped them become the backbone of our middle class. servicemen and women must have a chance to apply their gets to expand the american economy. part of in a war responsibly is standing by those who have fought it. two weeks ago, america's final combat brigade in iraq, the army's fourth brigade, journeyed home in the darkness.
8:17pm
thousands of soldiers, hundreds of vehicles, made the trip from baghdad. the last of them passed into kuwait in the early morning hours. over seven years before some american troops in coalition partners have fought their way across similar highways. this time, and no shots were fired. if yours is a convoy of brave americans making their way home. -- it was just a convoy of brave americans making their way home. the soldiers led much behind. some teenagers when the war began. many serve multiple tors of duty. they were far from families. since the war began, 55 members of the force striker brigade made the ultimate sacrifice. 4400 americans have given their lives in iraq.
8:18pm
as one staff sergeant said, "i note to my brothers in arms that fought and died that this day would probably mean a lot." those americans gave their lives for the values that have lived in the heart of our people for over two centuries along with nearly 1.5 million americans to a surge in iraq, they fought in a faraway place for people they never knew. they stared into the darkness it human creations. they help the iraqi people seek the light of peace. in an age without surrender ceremonies, we must earn victory. the success of our partners and strength of our own nation . every american deserves the joint heros that stretches from lexington to gettysburg, from a low jima to kandahar.
8:19pm
americans who fought to see that the lives of our children are better than our own. our troops are the steel and our ship. bill our nation may be traveling to rough waters, they give us confidence that our course is true and the on the pre-don darkness of better days lie ahead. may god bless you and may god bless the united states of america and all that serve. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> the president from the oval office, a view of the west wing with a core member standing guard. our phone lines are open and. your reaction?
8:20pm
fo202 is the in area code in washington. the speech will be posted on our website at c-span.org. some action from members of congress, including john boehner who is a milwaukee earlier today speaking at the convention of the american legion. he is posted his speech on the twitter page. we are falling back on twitter.com. the skid to your phone calls. republican-. caller: i agree with the president 100% operation iraqi free theedom has been set.
8:21pm
saddam hussein has been a grave threat. i hope that we would still be able to keep forces close by enough to go back in their and get the job done it for had to go back in there. they must build a strong government for themselves. they must make them govern themselves. i agreed with the president. thank you a lot, c-span. host: thank you. joining us on the democratic line. caller: good evening. i think the time is right for us to withdraw from iraq. i think the president has done we have elected him to do. i think that we need to begin to draw it down in afghanistan. i do not think anyone knows what
8:22pm
success is for them it the success is a fear -- a free election, we have done that. host: the president spoke with george jedi bush today. some historical perspective on when president bush first discussed u.s. troops as they began moving into iraq march 20 of 2003. then it was june 15 that the military completed the troop buildup, adding a total of one and a 60,000 soldiers in iraq -- wanted to 60,000 soldiers in iraq. they wanted to cut the to spend more than 20,000 by mid-2008. michelle is joining us from alabama. independent line. what do you think about what he heard? hostcaller: it is mitchell.
8:23pm
i am happy we are pulling out of this country. and do nothing which it had been there to begin with. i understand what to bring democracy to people, but i do not think that is the goal america should strive for. host: thank you. we will go to the republican line. caller: thank you. i guess for the most part i am extremely pleased. i am pleased of what the president had to say. i wish she mentioned and apologized to the navy seal that was sued because he punched a terrorist in his stomach. he should have apologized. he should have strait of apologized. -- straught up apologist.
8:24pm
i think he should step down of a office tonight. because of all the competition things that have taken place. from financial to the war to our troops. shame on him. you cannot sue navy seals. host: thanks for the call. the president unveiled the new oval office earlier today. yet the more he on the speech for the last couple of weeks to do tomorrow morning, more from baghdad as joe biden oversees the ceremony. we will have live coverage on c- span2. early today, the president was in fort bliss. democrat line. caller: good evening.
8:25pm
i want to think c-span for letting us participate in a historic day like today. i want to thank the president for keeping his word in getting our troops out of harm's way. san diego is a large military town. i like to encourage everybody listening if they know of any soldiers coming from the war, they would welcome them back and thank them. i think it means a lot. >> thank you bur. renee is joining us on our independent line. caller: i've would like to say to those who supported obama that we need to give him time to do his job. he said down a time line. let him carry out his duties. the troops are coming home.
8:26pm
we rest to get in. we need to bring the troops home. many to stop saying this negative stuff about him. he is doing a fine job. he has a love for this country. i think we need to speak more positively and said the fighting in complaining. left behind our president. host: he also spoke at our economy and the middle east peace process. tomorrow there will be a dinner at the white house was some of the key players including president netanyahu. they will be joined by the palestinian leader. is a preview to negotiations will begin thursday at the state department. nancy pelosi has comment on her twitter page commenting on the earth their posts by john boehner. she says "it to be bipartisan,
8:27pm
unlike the gop leader partisan speech." we are checking all of this on our twitter page. we are joined on the republican line. good evening. caller: i think he made a good speech. he gave a deadline. it is probably not a good idea. host: what idea? caller: been the troops out of all. host: in iraq or afghanistan? caller: iraq. host: we will go to dorothy. we have these these posted on our website at c-span.org. dorothy, you are next. caller: i am a to service better. i think the speech was very
8:28pm
honorable. i think most of the country would support him. i support our former president's decision to go to war. what is going to be so much of our blessing to our nation is that our troops have occupied iraq. they had seen the the haters of the terrorists. there will be able to come home. our entire country should be grateful. host: thank you very much for phoning them. robert gates also speak at the same convention that john boehner spoke at today. azaan 97 convention of the american legion propel. put the total death toll to 4427. that is from the defense secretary robert gates since 2003. republican line.
8:29pm
caller: i would like to thank the president for bringing an end to this painful chapter of our history. now i hope that he can get congressional support to move the country forward and tell the american to heal and prosper within our borders. host: do you think that will come? how caller: i can only hope so. i am a republican. i hope republicans can work with him to do this. host: independent mind. caller: i am calling about the president's speech. i would like to know the 50,000 troops that are left in iraq if they are not combat troops, who is going to defend them? host: thank you. earlier, we talked to robert gibbs. there were two references to
8:30pm
george w. bush. the first in the president's speech when he indicated it was in 2003 when he addressed the country. later, he talked about the political issue that came up in the 2008 campaign in a phone, a station between the current and former president. robert gibbs weighed in on that briefly and then entered the week conducted. >> one of the questions you got was one of the president would phone his president. they did talk earlier today. can you give us any sense into why he decided to call him and the tone of the conversation? >> i was not on the plane for the call. the president enjoys greatly the ability to call former president and talk to them from time to time. and seek any of their advice. president obama called former
8:31pm
president bush before he spoke last february to announce a plan to remove our troops by august 31. he thought it was fitting to do that again today. i do not have a lot of inside information on that. the president would let me talk on the. he likes the ability to have a conversation with former president and do so in a way that keeps the conversation private. there are very people that are live that have had the job to faces typist's circumstances that president obama faces each day. he wants to be able to have those conversations in a private way with those that have had the job. >> that was from robert gibbs. your reaction to the president's speech. he is still in the west wing standing over the main entrance.
8:32pm
as of operations and, but this take a moment to think are great troops and their families. earl is joining us from atlanta, a democrat. caller: i enjoy what jing c- span. in the background, they have a changing of the guards by the door. i saw the speech and everything. i loved it. when he said the talk to george bush and cannot turn to be divisive, but i wish you would send more concerned about why we actually got into this war.
8:33pm
first of as a weapons of mass destruction. there is so many different things. it goes about all. we have no reason over there. >> comments will follow in a couple of minutes in milwaukee. more from the twitter page. steny hoyer, we want to thank the brave men and women in uniform for their service and honor. we are joined from tennessee on the republican line. go ahead. >> thank you for taking my call.
8:34pm
they need to work together to get this country out of this people. it is not why is what got is here. it is what we are going to do to cross out from this economy. that is what we need to do. we need to work together to take this country out. that is all i have to say. host: since mccain videos called up for jury duty. -- said he was called out for a jury duty. next is jeremy from alabama. good evening. caller: i have been comments. i consider myself to be a non-
8:35pm
interventionist. i do not believe in policing the world. that is really what we are doing right now. we do have troops all over the world. i support rahm poll -- ron paul. >> i agree to bringing all the troops home. i hope we have something to do. what they left him practically to do. i was concerned why he did not make that speech in the new law
8:36pm
will office. when did he make it to congress? host: thank you. republicans say in 2007 in majority of senate democrats voted for times to cut funding for troops deployed. we will can do this tomorrow morning. among their guests will be a constitutional professor of harvard university to talk about the withdrawal of the combat troops and what it means for the government as it tries to restructure six months after the election. you also be joined by democrat of maryland. we will continue our look at the 2010 elections to talk about access issues. that is all tomorrow morning at 7:00 a.m. eastern.
8:37pm
that is joining us from ohio on the republican line. caller: i am a 15-year-old stadium. i disagree of bringing the troops home. it obama brings the troops out, they will be coming over here and wanted to fight us. i highly disagree with him. host: will go to wisconsin, a democrat plan. caller: really like the process of bringing the gentleman home. we have a big war facing. i am hoping that they can have a job and then they get in the counseling and everything they need. they are going through some tragic things. now they are coming home.
8:38pm
i want to make sure the american people support them by getting jobs going for them. a lot of these gentlemen will be stressed. you bring 50,000 men home. the party do not have jobs. you are bringing them home. now we have to find out how to support them. the government gives them nothing on workman's comp. we need to make sure these men coming home are going to support them family are we will have a worse were here then we had over there. this is the most important part in bringing them home. the war is surely here. host: thank you. the president touch very briefly on the economy and the challenges facing those. some more background on the war
8:39pm
in iraq. 2008, iraq and the court required the pentagon to draw forces by the end of 2011. in december 27, 2009 when he announced plans to end u.s. combat operations in iraq by august 30 force by 2010 which is today. the two levels are at 49,700 again. host: i am calling from new york city. i want to touch on a speech tonight. i think it is great that the president is bringing the troops back home. it is because they really do not have a choice right now but to
8:40pm
come home. their families need them. their mothers need them. we have spent over $1 trillion on this war. i think when the troops come home is to be taken over well. there'll be more trouble there. that is the main objective of the war. it is good that the present state true to his word. i applaud him. host: you are looking a video of the present in the last hour.
8:41pm
we have a live view from the north lawn of the white house. he had that -- head back to the oval office. we will ship to the middle east by a dinner that will be hosted by the president and first lady. there is some in the key players. -- they are some of the key players. austin is joining us from new york, republican line. caller: thank you. i want to thank president obama. at least he understands that these are men that are in a war. the matter how big a war it is, it is hell. i cannot imagine what they are going through. i really do not want them to go through that stuff. i believe there is one. in that speech that was missed. there is the fact that iran has
8:42pm
currently got nuclear supplies from our old cold war nemesis for russia. after they promised that they would not do so. this situation is not looking too good. host: that is when the questions that has come up. whether or not there is now a new threat from iraq because the old threat from saddam hussein has now ended. caller: yeah. it is just -- the mission has gone well. it has steadily improved. the neighboring country to country that does not like us who is kidding support from a country we knew did not like as. it is not a situation we like. the fact that we are pulling out of this country and getting away from a situation that could potentially destroy us and the
8:43pm
world is not exactly the best situation for everybody at this time. if host: thank you for the call. on that subject, robert ted joining us from minneapolis, a democrat line. caller: my name is roberta. host: if you could turn the volume down on your television we can hear you much. caller: thank you. i want to thank the president for a good job. i think it was an excellent speech. i think the content of the speech was very smart and intelligent.
8:44pm
i think the implementation and things he said he would do in iraq, i think that if you would draw people out of a place to have to give them something to do. i think that was included in his speech. for him calling president bush was also a smart decision to make. everything started during the bush administration. i thought that him consulting the president in doing a little communication with a smart move. as american citizens, i think we are supposed -- we are not close to think about violence. we are supposed to think about peace and things that will bring positive things. we are drawn to people now. we have to think about things that are positive that he can do. we have to help him get to where he is going. i think he is doing a great job. i think we are supposed to
8:45pm
support him. for me coming from another country, and this is a very beautiful thing for me to see. i think places like africa and other parts of the world are looking for america. they are learning. i think other countries are looking. host: where you from originally? caller: west africa. host: thank you for your comment. more of a chance the to weigh in tomorrow morning on "washington journal." the president also talked about joe biden in baghdad. we will have coverage tomorrow morning on c-span2. this is being organized by the iraqi government. you'll be able to see the change of command and ceremony with remarks by the vice-president. the speech tonight is available
8:46pm
on our website at c-span.org. coming up next, remarks by john boehner, and the republican leader in the house of representatives. he spoke earlier today in milwaukee discussing not only the war before a policy and the obama administration. here is the speech in the entirety. >> and thank you all very much. i want to think commander hill for his introduction. the american legion made a great choice by electing a man from ohio as his leader. thank you for having me. it is always an honor to be among those who have warned carnations uniform. i want to thank the american
8:47pm
legion and all of our veteran organizations for supporting our troops were ever there is stations and caring for them when they come home. it is true the heroes were. i am sure i speak on behalf of all the members of congress when i say to all of you "thank you." i want to congratulate commander hill and those who participated in another successful legacy run. you raise more than three and 60,000 jobs for families of service members to a fallen into line in the years following the terrorist attacks. your effort serve as a reminder of our resolve in the country to never forget 9/11 and to keep faith with the heroes who lost their lives that day.
8:48pm
these colors do not run. thank you for the work you are doing to help improve this. i was proud to work with the legion last year. we are helping building insurance companies for combat injuries. insurance companies do not send men and women into combat. tarnation does. carnation to take responsibility -- our nation should take responsibility for that decision. i was proud to stand with the legion this year to expose laws
8:49pm
that could have harmed veterans. there are new mandates. as important as our commitment to provide quality health care may be, just as important is a commitment to the dignity and respect that comes from holding a job. today as thousands come home seeking to provide for our families, they realize the jane the volunteers' defense awaiting them. unemployment is at 11%. -- veteran unemployment is up 11%. i've called on congress to join me in supporting a series of immediate actions to end the ongoing economic uncertainty and tell more americans find an
8:50pm
honest day's work. federal mandates and government takeovers have failed our nation and our veterans. it is time for a fresh start. we need a fresh start so that every man and woman who was don the uniform of our nation knows when they leave the surface the opportunity for a good job in the private sector will lead them. it is an honor to share the stage today with robert gates. i join him in thinking are brave men and women who s served in iraq. this day belongs to our troops. the courage in sacrifices have made the transition possible. it is a profound gratitude that reflects on all of our service members.
8:51pm
we salute the work of their commanders. the general david petraeus and general odierno. i cannot help to think back to the time when the situation in iraq was grim and the future was bleak. when general petraeus embarked, they viewed it as a last chance to save iraq from spiraling into an irreversible chaos. the consequences then and now were severe. some leaders to criticize and fought tooth and nail to stop the search now probably claim credit for the results. one leader in the u.s. house of representatives declare that the surge was a failure even before it was implemented. one leader said "this war is
8:52pm
lost even as additional forces were being mobilized." 1 lawmakers rejected the idea for the surge to reduce violence in iraq saying "in fact, i think we will do the reverse pop " these are lawmakers who supported an accepted support from an anti-war organization that ran a full-page ad in the new york times. they referred to him as a general betray-us.. these are sad facts. today we marked not to defeat the voices anticipated. we mark the progress. i want to thank president obama for setting aside the political rhetoric and recognizes the
8:53pm
importance of the surge in a diplomatic agreement signed by president bush. at this hour, 50,000 u.s. troops are still in iraq. for those troops or their families, this war will not be over until they come home. though the mission has changed th, tgheir work is no less critical. there is no greater inspiration to moderate governments then a successful peron. there is no better argument against those who preached intolerance and hatred than a freeze stable and thriving iraq. it will be determined not by the words politicians speak today by their actions in the months and
8:54pm
years ahead. the hard truth is that iraq will continue to remain a target for those who hope to destroy freedom and democracy. to the people of that nation and this nation, they deserve to know what america is prepared to do if the cause for which our troops sacrifice lives this threatened. i hope the president will address that question when he speaks to the nation into the world. we have often heard about ending the war in iraq. we've not heard much about winning the war. in honor of what our men and women fought for, we cannot turn our backs now on what they have achieved. we support our troops all the way. there is no such thing as supporting our troops and not the mission they are there to fight for. [applause]
8:55pm
victory in iraq was is the only option in 2007. it is the only option now. the american legion understand that. the american people understand that. that is why we are here talking about our success in some of gradual surrender. too many of our own have been laid to rest. their sacrifices have not been in vain. daniel clay is one of the fallen heroes. his wife once worked in my congressional office as a personal assistant th
8:56pm
before he died, he left a letter for his family to be read in case he did not make it home. in the letter, he wrote "what to have done in iraq is worth any sacrifice. why? because it was our duty. -- because it was our duty by " duty is defined as a god-given task. without a duty, life is worthless. we as elected leaders must understand our duty as -- our
8:57pm
troops should never have to doubt congress's commitment to support the mission. when i asked to provide our troops to the resources they need, we to do it without delay. that should mean no more of bill holdups by pork projects. [applause] we need a congress that understands it the risk all in defense of our security. victory is the only option. we will do all it takes to provide them with the necessary support so that they can return home swiftly and successfully. no voice and a matter how strong or committee can substitute the
8:58pm
voice of the commander in chief. that is why the president must take the time to articulate in a coherent and consistent matter to the fellow citizens with the goal of this mission. these imperatives should not be communicated in a manner of this checking a box. these missions should not be bunched together with a list of political challenges. afghanistan is not just one of two wars. it is central to the global struggle against extremism and intolerance abroad a the border of afghanistan as a virtual command and control center or al qaeda plots their attacks against americans and the allies. afghanistan must be resistance to those hellbent on returning power.
8:59pm
i support our counterinsurgency strategy in afghanistan. they can inserted the it success -- can ensure the success riven 7 on an arbitrary deadline. famous plays a greater emphasis on. a successful implementation of the strategy. there are unconnected conditioned on the ground. it comes at a higher price. we cannot afford to underestimate the impact of domestic debate in hinting and what it will make on friend and
9:00pm
foes alike. we are successful and will because of the endurance and patience of archer. i know of the american legion joins me in expressing our gratitude to our men and women serving. . .
9:01pm
we characterize the perpetrators as criminals rather than terrorists to be deterred. there are proposals to house
9:02pm
these terrorists on american soil just to fill a campaign promise. we were told that guantanamo bay serves as a rallying cry for our enemies. we were told that bringing them here would diminish the threat. then, we witnessed four terrorist incidents on the u.s. soil including the fort hood shooting, the attempted christmas day bombing, and the failed times square bombing. these represent new strands of terrorists. all have ties to international terrorist organizations and radical extremists.
9:03pm
the government has the right authority and mine said to prevent future attacks on american soil. the justice department announced that they would not be pursuing charges against the terrorists who allegedly coordinated the attack on the uss cole. these are terrorists who have the blood of 70 american soldiers on their hands. they worked hand-in-hand with one of the 9/11 hijackers. the commander of the uss cole who was fought for justice alongside the families has said that the obama administration is playing politics with this issue. some are holding those who kill innocent americans responsible for their heinous act, politics
9:04pm
should be the last thing on their mind. over the course of the last 20 months, it is clear that our country's overarching policy has been lost. we do not know the parameters for win, how, and other what circumstances we will capture, solicit information from, and detaining illegal enemy combatants. we are a nation at war, a patch pework political promises this not have a strategy. we need a congress who uses every tools at their disposal to keep terrorist off of u.s. soil.
9:05pm
stopping at nothing, this is how we can best protect the american people and said an example. our missions in iraq and afghanistan are part of our role as a beacon of hope. america cannot become the last best hope of man by accident or by force. it was a choice, a choice made by those who faced down the most powerful empire on earth. the union chose to make war in freedom's defense rather than letting the nation perish.
9:06pm
president reagan reaffirmed america's commitment to genuine peace to make sure that the empire knew that we would never compromise our principles and standards and we will never give away our freedom. when reports of president reagan reached siberia in the prisons and they were tapped out to fellow prisoners in morse code. when finally he was free, he visited the oval office. he urge president reagan so the other who aspire to liberty could hear his call to arms. this ran out to another dissident, an electrician who
9:07pm
shaped the solidarity movement that calls for the first dance in the iron curtain when president reagan died 50 years after the berlin wall came down, -- we took him so personally, why, because we owe him our liberty. margaret thatcher said of president reagan? he took words and he sent them out for us/" \ what words are being sent out to fight for freedom and democracy? what do they hear in iran or in cuba?
9:08pm
if they hear nothing, if this is silence that echoes in their cells rather than the firm warns of american support, if they hear nothing, will they be able to when they sit in the oval office or right in the pages of a free media the facts of an american president. never forget that this was founded by an idea. . the idea that free people can govern themselves and that government powers are given only to the consent of the government. all will be respected and protected and that no one will be limited in their ability to
9:09pm
seek liberty. ideas matter. our government must reawaken itself to the task of providing a more robust defense. when we do not send these words out to fight for us, we caused turmoil and confusion. our enemies take this as a sign of weakness or a dimming of our belief in ourselves. our allies have cause to be unsettled about what role will play in the future. when we do not seek out -- speak
9:10pm
out, our deeds are left to speak for themselves. every time we make a concession to countries acting against our national interest, every time we sacrifice, we pay a price. as we gather here, iran is working to develop nuclear weapons contrary to the wishful thinking of some. the iranian regime is capable of pursuing these weapons in the face as international isolation. iran is more than prepared to sacrifice the well-being of its people for the chance to fundamentally change the balance of power in the region. it is the true source of instability in the region and we must not assume that a nuclear arms to iran would be able to be contained. the destiny of iran and israel are often interlink and with good reason.
9:11pm
it israel is an island of freedom surrounded by a sea of repression and hate. israel is on the front lines of the ideological and violent clash that we are confronting. the attacks against are often the vanguard of what our country will face. america has stood by israel since harry truman was in the oval office. our commitment should be no less strong today. where i come from, you stick by your friends and you stick by the people who share your values. you don't shun your friends and allies. the policy of the u.s. should not be built on a platform of apologies, corrections, and
9:12pm
reset buttons. we will not confront and defeat the terrorists threat by a backing out on america's commitments. we have played a high cost these past years at war and our military personnel and their families have paid the highest price. how should we address these challenges, these debates that has shown the issues. we of decisions to make about our path forward and these will be made an environment in which we are 41 cents against every dollar that we spend this year.
9:13pm
we must work together to identify our national security priorities and military and economic superiority. this americans found it with a choice, maintain its greatness is a choice as well today, we choose to do what needs to be done, to do what we know to be right hand to never except the next best thing for our families, our country, where for freedom. these are articles of faith worth fighting for to the last four. you have done it and our troops have risked it all for it. all they're asking for is for the full support of our elected leaders.
9:14pm
i give you my word, they have it. [applause] high atop the dome of the capitol stands the statue of freedom. this was completed in 1863 during the darkest and most divisive days in the history of our country. what i love most is that she faces to the east because the sun never sets on freedoms face the sun never sets on american pioneers and american ideas and, an idea that generations have fought and died for. i want to thank you. god bless you, god bless your
9:15pm
families and god bless the great united states of america. [applause] ♪ ♪ ♪ c-span3 c-sp[captioning performy national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> robert gates was also at the american legion. he spoke about iraq and afghanistan.
9:16pm
>> thank you for the introduction. it is a pleasure being with the american legion today. it is always a pleasure to be anywhere washington, d.c. a town clearly build on this want ended many ways, still a swamp. -- a town clearly built on a swamp and in many ways, still a swamp. the legion has done so much for our nation and for our military. as proud eagle scouts and former long-term president of the national eagle scout association, i am grateful for your longstanding support of the
9:17pm
boys clubs of america. thanks in part to support of the legion, the boy scouts recently celebrated their hundred anniversary. i spoke at the jamboree a few weeks ago and was pleased to see that the enthusiasm for stabbing was still strong -- scouting was still strong. most often to me was when i asked a huge audience to stand up if they had a father, a mother, a brother, a sister, or another relative serving in the military i believe about half of the 45,000 scouts in attendance rose to their feet the most notable contributions have always been to our men and women returning from the battlefield. most recently from the post 9/11
9:18pm
conflicts. this commitment has been expressed through the heroes to hometowns program, the only nationwide all volunteer reintegration assistance service which eases severely wounded soldiers back into civilian life. one case bedstands out to is the case of one soldier who was severely wounded. his wife and their two daughters moved to a home in florida, the house had been refitted to accommodate johnson needs but is still needed a lot of work. that is when the legion rallied. the sounds of the american legion, and unit 152, tampa, all gathered to do the work, and hundreds of hours of sweat, the property is ready for john and his family, the contributions of the legion are necessary and
9:19pm
welcome now when we are asking so much of our troops each of hamas has volunteered to serve in wartime, each of whom is a fitting successor to the legacy of old every day. one soldier lost his leg and part of his left foot. he was set on rejoin his unit that he passed the army physical fitness test again within a year. he can be found of control and afghanistan. [applause] he is known as the one legged war lord. this sends a powerful message to
9:20pm
our friends and enemies alike about our debts and determination. -- gauts and determination. this generation of heroes has been tested in a daunting amount of waste. loss of friends, comrades, wounds seen and unseen. the military institution as a whole. we would like to discuss some changes. these include the major changes under way in iraq and afghanistan. we're preparing the military threats -- for threats looming on the horizon. we're also looking to make every defense dollar counts.
9:21pm
tomorrow, operation iraqi freedom will officially become operation new dawn. a change that recognizes that the iraqi people have assumed full responsibility for their security. this was the moment both of our nations have worked and hoped for. a moment made possible by the dramatic security gains over the past three and a half years. despite recent headline grabbing a tax, that would mean innocent civilians. this is the lowest amount of casualties and deaths since 2003. in an important victory against transnational terror, al qaeda in iraq has been largely cut off from its masters abroad.
9:22pm
[applause] i'm not saying all is or necessarily will be well in iraq. the most recent elections have yet to result in a coalition government. sectarian tensions remain a fact of life. al qaeda in iraq is beaten but not gone. this is not a time for premature victory parade or self congratulations. even as we reflect with pride and what our troops and their iraqi partners have accomplished, we still have a job to do and responsibilities there. even with the end of the formal combat mission, the u.s. military will continue to support the army and police, helped to develop the navy and air force, and assist with counter-terrorism operations. the president will talk about the future role in iraq during his address to the nation
9:23pm
tonight. as our mission moves forward, we must never forget that the opportunities inside of all the rockies and especially the opportunity for political freedom has been purchased at a terrible cost. the losses and the trauma in forward by the iraqi people, and the blood sweat and tears of the american people in uniform. at the end of iraqi freedom, 4427 service members have died in iraq, 3502 were killed in action 34,268 have been wounded or injured.
9:24pm
the courage of these men and women, their determination, their sacrifice, and the sacrifices of their families along with the service and sacrifice of so many others in uniform have made this day, this transition possible. we must never forget. host: calle[applause] as the u.s. military campaign winds down, and invigorated and reinforced afghanistan effort is moving ahead on all fronts. much has been said and reported about afghanistan and i would like to emphasize a few main points. first, while the u.s. has been in this fight for a long time,
9:25pm
we should think of the campaign as two different wars. the first, from 2001 into early 2002 was won outright with the taliban were ousted from power, schools and clinics were open, and women were liberated from bondage. [applause] with the invasion of iraq, our attention and our resources were diverted. afghanistan became a second party. starting in 2003, the taliban regrouped, rebuild their ranks, reconstituted themselves and safe havens and creating -- and the reentered afghanistan.
9:26pm
violence increased significantly in 2005 and has grown worse ever since. we have the resources, the troops, the equipment, military, and civilian, needed for this. the total international military commitment will reach approximately 150,000, more than three times the number one i became defense secretary going on four years ago. this includes some 45,000 troops from our allies and other partners. this dramatic increase in military capability is amplified by a tripling of deploy its ability and a substantial influx of trainers. going forward, the afghan people must accept responsibility for the future of their country, we are making slow but steady headway on that front half with about 85% of the national army and now partnered
9:27pm
with our forces in the field train together, planning together, and fighting together general petraeus has worked with president karzai to develop a plan to locally recruited forces that will be accountable to the central government and will also give local communities the means to defend themselves. we are committed to enforcing a hard line against the corruption that exploits the people and saps their support for the government. that includes making sure that american tax dollars and other assistance is not being misused. all of these efforts will help build the trust and to the self- reliance that the afghans will need to govern and protect themselves for the long term. encouraging that self-reliance is wide beginning irresponsible transition to the control next summer is so important, that being said, as the president has
9:28pm
frequently noted, we are not turning off the lights next july. as in iraq, our drawdown will be gradual and conditions as based accompanied by a buildup of our military assistance and civilian development efforts. if the taliban believes that america is headed for the exit next summer in large numbers, they will be deeply disappointed and surprised to find us very much in the fight. [applause] the realization that we will still be there after july, 2011 and aggressively going after them, i believe this impacts their morale and willingness to continue resisting their government and the international coalition. there is a good deal of concern and patients about the pace of projects -- pace of progress.
9:29pm
it is important that we are only just now reaching a full complement of forces ordered by the president. the taliban are a cruel and ruthless adversary and are not going quietly. their leadership has ordered a brutal campaign of intimidation against civilians, singling out women for barbaric attacks. the enemy is paying a price for these crimes as more than 350 taliban commanders have been killed or captured in just the past three months. these efforts will only celebrate as our military offensive rolls back the enemy from their strongholds and secured population centers. this will be a tough on a campaign with setbacks and heartbreak. the fact that we knew our losses would increase as the fight was
9:30pm
brought to the enemy makes them no easier to bear. the intensifying combat and rising casualties is in many ways reminiscent of the early months of the iraq surge when our troops were taking the highest losses of the war and to much of the coverage and commentary is similar as well. during a half years ago, very few believed that a search could take as to where we are today in iraq. they're a plenty of reasons for doubts. back then, the civilian and military leadership chose a path we believe would achieve the national security objectives as we're doing in afghanistan today. success there is not inevitable but with the right strategy and the willingness to see this through, it is possible. this is certainly worth the fight.
9:31pm
[applause] i would remind everyone that this country's leaders, myself included made the mistake 20 years ago of abandoning afghanistan to chaos after the soviets were driven out. its power vacuum did not and could not concern us and that we could eliminate threats from a distance of low-cost to ourselves. as events have shown in new york, washington, pa., london, madrid, pakistan, indonesia, the jakarta, elsewhere around the world, we were dead wrong. i believe and the president believes that we now have the right strategy and afghanistan, a strategy that represents our
9:32pm
best chance of achieving goals essential to the safety of the united states. delivering a strategic defeat to al qaeda and its extremist a phyllis by rolling back the taliban from their strongholds in building the afghan capacity to secure their own territory and said during the nine safe haven to terrorists that would attack our country once again. that is our objective, that is our strategy, this is the only possible justification for the risks and sacrifices we are asking for our troops. as i'm sure anyone in this audience is aware of, even if everyone should go perfectly in iraq and afghanistan, a year from now, five years from now, the that states will still find itself in a dangerous world. the military must remain strong and agile enough to face i diverse range -- to face a
9:33pm
diverse range of fronts. these range from on state actors attempting to acquire in use weapons of mass destruction to the more traditional threats of other states building up their conventional forces and developing new capabilities that target our traditional strength. building a flexible portfolio and the ability and system that can be used across the widest possible range of conflicts will be the challenge for the entire department of defense as we move into a new era. as a country, historically, we have a troubling predictable pattern of coming to the end of a conflict, concluding that the nature of man and the world has changed for the better and turning inward, unilaterally disarming and dismantling
9:34pm
institutions important to our national security. when we are invariably and inevitably prove wrong, when war comes again, we have had to rebuild at huge cost in blood and treasure. most recently, after september 11th. it is critically important that we not repeat that mistake again. [applause] in the coming years, the pressure will be great to ignore the lessons of our history and to reduce spending on defense going forward, we must have modest and sustainable growth in the defense budget in order to retain our fighting forces and invest adequately for future
9:35pm
challenges. to make the case for this growth at a time of economic and physical address requires the defense department to make every dollar count to fundamentally change the way we do business, this means shifting resources from bureaucracies and headquarters and overhead to the combat capabilities needed today and in the future. [applause] i fast the entire pentagon earlier this year to take a hard look at how the department is staffed, organize, and operated. many of these decisions were difficult but they are necessary to ensure that our fighting forces on air, land, and see, have the resources to achieve a wider range of missions and to prepare for future challenges and needs.
9:36pm
as those of paid the price in previous conflicts for misplaced priorities when it comes to national defense, i ask your support for a leaner more efficient pentagon and a continued sustainable robust investment in our troops and future capabilities. [applause] our troops have done more than their part to, now it is time for us in washington to do ours. i will do everything in my power to make sure that we live up to our solemn obligations for the safety of our country, for the well-being of our troops. these talented and resilience men and women in uniform are the ones who give me confidence in the future as there's no group of people anytime or anyplace
9:37pm
more capable of confronting the challenges our country faces. i feel a deep sense of personal responsibility to each and every one of them to ensure that they have all they need to accomplice their mission and to come home safely. the debt owed to all americans to those now serving and those who have served can never be fully repaid. you have my gratitude and my respect for all you do for our troops and for all you do for the country they have stepped toward to defend. thank you. [applause] ♪ [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010]
9:38pm
>> while away on vacation, the obama family had the oval office redesign. highlights of the changes as provided by the white house with the new painted wallpaper, a new rug, new upholstered furniture. we recently spent time with president obama in the oval office before it was redecorated asking him about life in the white house and working in the oval office. >> mr. president, what's it like to live in the white house? >> this is an extraordinary experience. the thing we appreciate most is the staff who are so diligent,
9:39pm
they are constantly thinking about how to make the family comfortable in what to some degree is an artificial environment. they are wonderful. they are great friends. i also have the shortest commute of anyone i know. no matter how long i'm working in any given day, i could always go upstairs and see my wife and kids. that is part with something i appreciate more than a thing. >> what will you change? >> we have not read decorated this room. the tradition is that every president comes in and today we work this. given that we are in the middle of a very difficult economic time, we decided to hold off in terms of making changes. i did make a few personal changes.
9:40pm
one, the bust of martin luther king jr. to remind me of all of the dedication of a lot of people and to allow me to have the privilege of serving in this office. we got some of these neat gadgets that were donated to us. these four original patents that were provided. some of them stayed back to the early 1800's. this is a good reminder of part of what makes this country so great is our inventiveness. those are nice additions, initially there was a couple of plates of there. >> you captain george washington? >> i kept george washington and i kept lincoln. this picture was donated to bill
9:41pm
clinton from steven spielberg. from a distance, this looks like a portrait of the statue of liberty but when you look more closely, there are people up there cleaning the torch. this is a reminder that we constantly have to renew the flames of our democracy. >> when people come into this room, how do you notice them react? >> well, someone said that this is the greatest tom court advantage that you could have -- home court advantage that you could have. this symbolizes the presidency and it symbolizes what has been extraordinary record of tough decisions that have been made in this room.
9:42pm
usually, people have it little bit of a pause before they stepped in. my job is to make them feel comfortable. after that, they're fine. >> you have had some of the record meetings in the dining room. what is your relationship with history? >> when you occupy this office, you are constantly reminded that you are just one at a series of people who have dedicated their lives to protect in the country and making our democracy function. this is a very humbling experience. i spent a lot of time reading history just remind myself of
9:43pm
the standards i have to live up to. also the mistakes that have been made in the past. i have had the chance to talk personally with some of these historians. in the 24 hour news cycle that we live-in, so much of the attention is on the daily ups and downs of politics. my job is to remember that what i do here is on behalf of not just tomorrow but on behalf of the next generation. >> is third time that you are in this office that you cannot believe it? >> i would say that every president, the first day they are here, there's a tradition that the previous occupant
9:44pm
leaves a letter behind. president bush, who was very gracious to me and my family during the transition, left one. i came in here and read the letter. i looked around and i said, i had better not screw up. >> where do you find yourself the happiest? >> well, -- is extraordinary. we build a place set out here that the children used to use a lot. there now getting older and they don't use it as much as expected. the kids of staff comment. there are times and i'm working here and i will look at the window and someone is on a swing or laughing as they go down a slide.
9:45pm
this reminds me of what we're doing. every once in awhile, the dog runs by. that is always cheerful. >> what about the lincoln bedroom? >> yeah, i don't really go in there really except when there are visitors. every once in awhile, i will sneak in just to be read the gettysburg address, especially when i had a big speech. i'm constantly reminded myself that this was only three minutes long. it is useful to take a look at that he's a genius and remember that there's something to this. >> do you ever feel like you will be here for a long time? >> i think both me and the family recognize that this is
9:46pm
the people's house. we are temporary occupants. this means that we want to make sure that we leave this place in an extraordinary condition. there is a humility there. we have done a lot of things with wounded warriors, with kids from surrounding schools who may somehow feel like this is just a world apart and we want to let them know that this belongs to you. this is part of your legacy as an american city. >> what is the reaction from the kids? >> they are at an age where they would be comfortable just about anywhere. the degree to which they have adapted to this place is pretty extraordinary.
9:47pm
they treat this just like home and that is exactly what we want. this is a little bit bigger than my place in chicago. part of that is because the staff has been so wonderful. they have been helpful. they are having a ball. they're less constrained about their ability to leave the white house. the end up having the best of both worlds, as does my mother- in-law who lives in the third floor. she helps the kids. she was very resistant. she has lived in a small bungalow in chicago for 40 years and suddenly she is in the white house. >> she can wander out the gate and take a walk and no one knows who she is. >> thank you very much. [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
9:48pm
[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010]? morning, we will look as the withdrawal from u.s. combat forces. we will look at the affect of third-party candidates. we have several light defense to tell you about tomorrow. vice president joe biden will attend a change of command ceremony in iraq. also, the financial crisis inquiry commission begins a series of public hearings. we will hear from the former chairman and chief executive officers of lehman brothers.
9:49pm
here on c-span, the head of the president's council of economic advisers will be at the national press club to talk about the economy. tomorrow night, live coverage of a debate between the senate candidate in california. >> searched the term "mideast peace to" and you will get more than 1700 programs and more than 8000 programs. interviews, panels, and forms. this is washington and the world your way. >> that janet napolitano spoke to the air line pilots association this evening in washington. her speech concluded a daylong forum on airline safety.
9:50pm
>> it is wonderful to be here and this is a great honor to appear before you this evening. let the begin by thanking the airline pilots to make sure -- thinking the airline pilots for making sure that everyone reaches their destinations safely. you literally keep things flying and air cargo moving. every day, we entrust you with the safety of our families, our loved ones, are friends. the weight of the responsibility that you carry is not lost on us at this department of homeland security. you remain one of our most important partners.
9:51pm
not only in protecting our aviation system but in securing the country from terrorists, from human traffickers, drug traffickers, and other criminals. you work with the gsa on creating and maturing the federal flight deck officer program and implementing new air cargo screening procedures. i want to thank you for your input, involvement in these and other efforts which have enhanced the security of air travel and have really illustrated the meaning of partnership, a word that is tossed around pretty easily but must have real meat on its bonds to accomplish the work we must
9:52pm
do. i believe that we do have a partnership. the airline pilots and indeed all crewmembers remained a critical part of a layer security approach. nowhere is this more evident than during the attempted attack on christmas day aboard an aircraft headed for detroit to. i know members of the crew are with us this evening and later, we will pay tribute to them. your quick thinking how to avert a potential catastrophe a board that site. we owe you a debt of gratitude for your fowler. that incident reminds us that almost nine years after the
9:53pm
september 11th attack, we continued to face very real threats to our aviation system including threats from individuals who will go to great lengths to defeat the extensive security measures that have been put in place since that tragic day. the december 25th attack has served as a reminder and also a catalyst for us to take a renewed and hard look at gaps remaining in the security system and to take swift action to address them. over the past 8 months, that is precisely what we have done in the obama administration working closely with all of our partners in the aviation sector and did
9:54pm
detective -- in particular with foreign governments. this evening, i would like to talk about these efforts which have literally spanned the globe. i would like to discuss some of the new security measures that we have deployed here in the united states in the past month including the new screening technologies and i would like to talk a bit about the future and where we see these efforts going. back to december 25th, although the december 25th attempt in fault a united states playing flying into a city, it was an international terror plot in every respect in danger in the lives of individuals from at least 17 foreign countries who are passengers aboard the
9:55pm
flight. the alleged attacker was a nigerian citizens educated in the united kingdom. he received training and assistance in yemen, purchased his ticket in gonnhana. this plot shows the stark reality that despite decades of investment and screening and significant reforms, the network, the global aviation network still faces on abilities. this also reminded us that aviation security much like other international challenges blurs the line between foreign and domestic. and other words, we cannot say
9:56pm
this is international, this goes here, this is domestic, this goes here. those lines are blurred. they were together and the department of, security spans both. following the attempted attack, we recognize that every airport offers a potential entry point into the global aviation system and every nation faces a potential threat from caps in aviation security throughout the world. following the first reports on christmas on the attempted attack, we immediately a form to the pilots of all united states bound international flights and asked them to maintain to heightened vigilance. we also implemented increase security measures at united
9:57pm
states airports and that evening issued a security directive mandating enhanced screening for all united states- bound flights prior to departure and additional security measures to be accomplished in flight. now, in april, we introduced new risc-based verticals that actually use real-time intelligence-based targeting to identify potentially threatening individuals before they are even allowed to board an aircraft. these new measures formed several months after the attack on december 25th or tailored to reflect the most current threat information available to our intelligence committee and applied to all passengers. they continue to be supplemented
9:58pm
by multiple layers of security both seen and unseen. indeed, the whole idea has been to use our intelligence, use our databases, using the crossover between different intelligence gathering agencies that may have seen themselves as foreign or domestic and making sure that we were bringing all of that dated to bear. we were making a scenario-based division between passengers that could easily bored and passengers who deserved more attention. that has been the focus of our effort since december 25th. how are you make reasonable intelligence based divisions between passengers as they
9:59pm
arise, as a purchase their tickets, as they arrived at the airport, as they go through screening, as they board the airplane and indeed actually in flight. this has an fault the international aviation system. as i mentioned earlier, once you get into the global aviation system at any airport, you potentially have access to the whole system. since january, in close coordination with the international civil aviation organization, i have taken part in five regional aviation security summits on five continents bitterly. we have gone from europe, which is our first one which is several weeks after december
10:00pm
25th, for a summit in the western hemisphere to be held in mexico city, to a summit for the aged that specific region which was held in tokyo, to a summit for africa which was held in nigeria and a summit for the middle east. these summits included participation from elected leaders, security ministers, airline officials across europe, the western hemisphere, the asia-pacific region, africa, and the middle east. from these meetings, we have begun to forge an international consensus of what needs to take place to shore up the remaining vulnerability is in the international system focusing on four key areas. . .
10:01pm
it is objectively better in helping us ascertain what
10:02pm
passengers needed secondary screening and what passengers do not. i think it is important to note that the netherlands and nigeria, countries that he traveled through before his flight to detroit, are among the countries that were the first to deploy this neck -- this new technology. nigeria is also one of several countries that has agreed to allow our air marshals on u.s. carriers flying between their country and the united states. before, that was not happening. all of these efforts combined will culminate at the general assembly, which will be held this fall in montreal, canada, where we hope to make our work toward strengthening
10:03pm
international standards for aviation security into an actual resolution of the international community and applicable to the entire system. i think it is also important to note that in addition to the organization, the airline industry and air carriers themselves have been with us every step of the way. we have collaborated closely with the united states and international airlines and airports trade associations. we have met with airline ceo's. we met with him shortly after christmas day to explain -- to talk about what security needed to go into place right away. i personally met with all of these leaders and i have also met with the heads of the
10:04pm
international air traveler association and also with the ata and they have voiced strong support for the coordinated international approach that we have begun and that will be expressed, we hope, this fall at the general assembly. i think that through that, it is clear that our potential for collaboration goes beyond counterterrorism. the airline industry is a first line of defense against criminals of many forms. attempting to enter our country with illicit drugs, weapons, or people. in fact, we know that human traffickers seek to exploit the air waves to transport their victims. the department of homeland security blue campaign, which is our campaign to combat human
10:05pm
trafficking, we are exploring ways that we can partner with you to combat this crime. that is something that i ask you to be collaborating with us on in the coming weeks and months. let me turn to some of our domestic actions. our focus has not been solely on the international or global stage. at home, we have also taken some important steps to further strengthen aviation in recent months. for example, we have continued to leverage new technologies to ensure that we are keeping dangerous people and things from getting onto airplanes. this includes a significant expansion of the advanced imaging technology machines, which allows the tse to screen passengers at checkpoints for
10:06pm
explosives or other materials are items potentially hidden under clothing that would not otherwise be detected by a magnetometer. these machines are safe. they are efficient. the vast majority of travelers prefer them to other screen options. moreover, extensive privacy safeguards are built into every step of the screening process. over 180 of these machines are now in place at 45 airports nationwide and we intend to use recovery act funds to purchase even more machines and deploy them in the coming months. we are also using recovery act funds to purchase an additional 1500 next generation explosive trace detection machines. to screen for explosives that -- at passenger checkpoint and unchecked baggage. these are the machines, for example, that are used -- to
10:07pm
detect explosive spread is a quick test it is an easy task. it is also an accurate test. finally, the secure flight program, a tse has recently assumed responsibility from the air carriers for checking passenger manifest against our watch list for all domestic and international flights operated by united states carriers. let me say that again. we are now the -- we have now accomplished a cut over so that we are measuring the manifest against the watchlist and we're doing it for all domestic carriers. we will be also working with international carriers and hope to complete their cutover by the
10:08pm
end of the year. this will lead to more thorough and timely watch list tracks while reducing the kind of miss identification that sometimes cause unnecessary inconvenience for travelers en un duke media attention. -- undue media attention. we have begun screening air cargo that travels aboard domestic flights or parts united states passenger planes as required by the 9/11 act. this is a goal that we have been building toward an dyno we have worked closely with gsa to shape and inform the new requirements. we will continue to work with you to make sure this program is as effective as possible and that it is -- its implementation continues to go smoothly.
10:09pm
as i said at the beginning of my remarks, you remain at one of the most vital parts of our layard security for the international -- for the aviation system. you are literally at the control of the airwaves. we can only secure them with the kind of participation and support that you have given us from day one. as we look toward the future, we are going to continue to work with you and would airline pilots as well as our industry partners because we know that in the face of ever changing threats, we must stand together and we must work together to minimize our risk and to maximize the safety and security of the traveling public. i am here this evening to join
10:10pm
and recognize some very deserving award recipients. i want to say personally to you that i welcome to our partnership and i look forward to what we can continue to do it moving forward for the traveling public. thank you for having me this evening. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> in a few moments, a forum on the image of muslims in the u.s. in about an hour-and-a-half, president obama is addressed to the nation, officially announcing the withdrawal of u.s. -- u.s. combat forces from iraq. on "washington journal tomorrow morning, we will look
10:11pm
at the withdrawal of u.s. combat forces from iraq with an adviser to the iraqi government. our series on electoral college's continues with a segment on the effective third- party candidate. we'll be joined by richard winger, the publisher of dallas access news. "washington journal is live on c-span every day at 7:00. join our conversation on the american revolution, the making of the constitution, and the importance of historical study. sunday on book tv. life for three hours with your calls, e-mails, -- live for three hours at noon. >> now before a on the image of muslims in the u.s. hosted by the congressional muslim staff
10:12pm
association. speakers include the head of the arab-american institute. this is about an hour and a half. >> we have a distinguished panel to talk about the fate in the wake of the controversy. i want to be clear that this briefing is not about -- none of the panelist here are experts on the project are connected to the
10:13pm
project directly. this is not about park 51. we do not take a position of the project, nor do we endorse the position of the panels here. the muslim staff association wants to bring together experts and community leaders to talk about the conversation that is taking place in the wake of this controversy. the conversation that is taking place all across america about faith. it is a complex conversation that we're having right now. the muslim staff association represents all the muslims to work on capitol hill. police started more than 4 -- when we started them -- when we started more than four years ago, the first event we had was in the wake of the danish cartoon controversy. we screen documentary for the capital community of the pbs documentary. in order to offer some education
10:14pm
information to the community about what is going on and a conversation that is happening. the one that is happening right now is happening directly on our shores as americans. this is something that we can enable speak about directly and we're very honored to have this distinguished panel before us to talk about this larger conversation. in a poll that was taken a few weeks ago, they ask do you favor or oppose the moscow ground zero? this was widely disseminated in the public. to statistics that were not present in the same poll, the same people who said, would you favor or oppose a mosque in your own neighborhood? they said dupre did they said they would favor a mosque in their own community.
10:15pm
every friday, muslims in washington and all parts of the country, to private under the capitol dome every friday. we have had this for more than a decade. the that visitors from around the world -- we have had visitors from muslim majority countries where they cannot pray in public or not in a government building. they are amazed and their sad end. regardless of adversity that we
10:16pm
face at home, and there is been violent and desecration of the mosques, we are blessed to be americans. adversity is the key. we know it is the story of faith from the founding of our nation that without adversity, there can be no pot -- progress. that is the conversation that we're seeking here today. i think you all for being here today. i want to introduce our moderator. he worked on capitol hill for many years i was a major figure in the bush administration he is now a senior fellow. i am proud to say that i enjoy doing events with them because i can say that we have bipartisan cooperation. thank you. [applause]
10:17pm
>> good morning, everybody. thank you for coming out this morning. the controversy surrounding the park 51 committee center in lower manhattan has sparked a national debate on a host of issues beyond the construction of the kennedy center. a lot of the questions that people have been asking, including, what is the role of islam in america? who are american muslims? some of the even more tougher questions have begun to release surface, including, what is the role of terrorism? is their relationship to terrorism? are muslims inherently violent? these are some of the questions that were passed in the "time" magazine article two weeks ago. what was on the french --
10:18pm
fringe has surfaced and bubbled up to the mainstream conversation to the point where mainstream politicians are now accusing muslims of somehow being a fifth column. somehow being incapable of being loyal as americans. that they might have inherent conflicts in their faith. there're all kinds of accusations swirling around. we thought we would assemble a panel of experts and really take on some of these myths and shed light on some of these issues that have come up. i want to introduce the panel. they will each speaks for a brief 10 or 15 minutes and then we can go right to the question and answer period. before we go with that, i want to remind folks that since we are live, if we could turn of
10:19pm
cell phones and pagers. that would be helpful. i want to introduce our panelists. our first panelist is the president's of the muslim public affairs council. they have offices all over the country, including here in washington d.c. and los angeles. he has been a champion for issues related to the muslim american community for over two decades. he resides in what -- in los angeles with his wife, but is a fixture here in washington d.c. he will discuss issues related to basic overview of the rolls of muslims and their allies in the united states, the challenges, are they unique. next that we have the professor of law at the university of
10:20pm
richmond law school. she is also the founder and chairman of the muslim women advocacy organization. she will be able to address issues related to islam and a lot. we have -- and a lot. is like say that sharia a when you are a kid annular dade -- learn a dirty word and you want to repeat it. i had to look it up when i was accused of it. now the new dirty word istria. -- sharia. what exactly that is and to muslims want to impose sharia on everybody else? last up, our speaker is the founder and president of the american institute purity has been a pioneer.
10:21pm
he has been working for over 30 years in the trenches, really trying to empower all americans of all faiths. he is arab-american and also irish and also catholic. he has seen this movie before, as it were. i thought he could provide some historical context. with that. >> thank you add good morning. -- and good morning. i will be talking about the muslim american community and i will tie it into the controversy. i know there are a lot of questions that arise from that issue. first and foremost, the nomenclature of this particular controversy started out as the ground zero mosque controversy.
10:22pm
by now, everybody acknowledges that the place is not at ground zero and it is not a mosque. it is a few blocks away, where you cannot even see ground zero and it is a community center that was actually intended to develop interfaith understanding. i think that is important because a lot of muslim american institutions now are doing exactly that. they are reaching out to their fellow nabors, to christians and jews, in their local community and developing interfaith understanding and tackling issues such as poverty, homelessness, any kind of injustice. trying to develop a set of dialogue among the three faiths. islam, christianity, today is them, all rooted in the abraham as the father of the three great religions. the fact is, it was called the
10:23pm
ground zero moscow and that caused a lot of consternation -- moscow and that caused a lot of consternation. we need to distinguish between truth and fact. the truth is that it is not on ground zero and it is not a mosque. it is a community center. it was called back to -- it was called back and if you repeat it, it becomes a reality. moving away from this controversy, you see demonstrations against mosques and muslims across the country. the one issue that we have to be very concerned about as americans -- particularly in gainesville, fla., up or there will be a religious leader who will sponsor during the chronic day. -- koran day.
10:24pm
this is a major issue for us. we of told our conservation to ignore that. keep doing your good work. as americans, we should be very concerned about that. the first and foremost, people need to understand, what is the koran? it is considered a revelation from god. mohammed was given this revelation that was basically compiled. would then, there are stories about abraham -- would then, there are stories about abraham and jacob and moses and the children of israel. we read it quite extensively about the struggle of the children of israel against the pharaohs.
10:25pm
and against the tyranny and injustice there and how they were liberated. we read about jesus and his mother, mary. clearly, the biblical profits are also is llama profits. i did not note -- i do not think that many americans are all aware of that. we take responsibility for that. we have not presented that information to people. we have this a burning the koran day. if somebody is burning anything in your neighborhood, the first thing you do is call the fire department. it is a fire hazard. obviously, the images of that to cause even greater problems for us as americans. can you imagine in afghanistan and iraq images of americans burning the koran? all that is recruiting material for all qaeda. here is an important point for
10:26pm
us to make. anti muslim sentiment is a mirror of anti-american sentiment on the global arena. as anti muslim sentiments thrive here in america, you can expect a spike of anti-american sentiment abroad. you see it several counter- terrorism experts talking about how this is undermining our efforts to block the world and putting more americans in harm's way. this issue has to be viewed as an american problem, not just as a muslim problem. 70% of the american public has either an unfavorable view or no opinion on islam. the problem is that the extremists are able to tell their story more effectively
10:27pm
than the muslim american community can tell its story. the muslim american story still has not been told in terms of who we are and what we represent, how we want to contribute to american society. yet if some guy in some caved in a faraway place decides to make a video that curses america, that talks about bombing innocent lives, anywhere in any part of the world, if that tape is made, within minutes, you get that video played over and over again in all u.s. markets. if we as muslim americans talk about our efforts and we have a paper for you today called " building bridges" and we have had several condemnations of
10:28pm
terrorism, that story is still not told. in a broader sense, there is a problem between religious nationalism and religious pluralism. religious nationalism, when a few small group of people exploit religion using its popularity to served selfish interests of a few and creates violence, anarchy, chaos, and exploit religion and religious -- religion become something without justice. religion without justice is exploitation. they want god to serve them, they do not serve god. religious pluralism, on the other hand, is that we have the belief in one god and therefore, we believe in the one human family. to believe in one god beans that
10:29pm
you have to support human equality. -- to believe in one god means that you have to support human equality. is one of god's will racial and religious diversity. to each of you, we have made different laws and different ways. therefore, i do not worry about your differences. just continue doing good work. this diversity is important for muslims to understand as well as for us to explain to other people. in terms of sharia, it simply means the path to god. it is a general term. one person made an important statement about sharia.
10:30pm
he is a student. he says, when there is no justice, that there is the sharia. if we are talking about the sharia of what we see in the middle east, when there is bias against women and oppression and violence against the weak and vulnerable communities, that is not sharia. that is not what we want here in america definitely. we will be first to stand up in opposition to that kind of exploitation of islam. where there is no security, there is no islam. where there is security, that is where islam is. america is the best place for muslims and we will work to preserve our constitutional rights. thank you very much. [applause]
10:31pm
>> good morning. i really did not intend to stand before you and talk about sharia and all of that. it puts a lot of you to sleep because i treat it as a very serious legal discipline. i want to make a few comments about american law. i was very interested in the founding fathers a while back. i went to monticello and i went to other places and i looked in the papers and i looked in the library of congress letters and so on and i found a lot of interesting stuff along the way, not only as far as the founding fathers, but the rate of the country in it -- the mood of the country and those days. i was surprised to find out that on a literary level, there
10:32pm
were plays written about the tense deliberate muslim women who are oppressed -- to liberate muslim women who are oppressed. i found out that there are also some suspicions expressed about muslims. i also found out there was an attempt to exchange by the united states and north africa in the 18th century. i found out that they were right thing that -- they were writing that muslim was a fault religion. a lot of this has happened for a while. it did not just happen yesterday. it is time take a deep breath and talk to each other and ask ourselves, how will leap relate to each other? what is the foundation of this historical misunderstanding? i do not want us to push anything under the rug. let's have an honest and help the discussion in a country
10:33pm
which believes in the the process of law and due process. this is what protect all of us. it is not just about an islamic minority or a muslim minority, it is about all minorities. another big shot that night -- a big shock that i developed as i was reading the history of this country, i walked up the campus of my university and i found out that arab leaders and their of times suffered quite a bit. -- that their leaders in their own time suffered quite a bit. jews, catholics, and a lot of other minorities, and they have had a difficult getting stabilized in this country. we all go through this. but hopefully, as we mature in terms of understanding of our
10:34pm
constitution, the process become more dignified and less painful. i want muslims in this country to understand in some way that they are not singled out. everybody else had to go through this one might or another. thankfully, the founding fathers had introduced through the insistence of a lot of religious groups who were christian and atheist and other religions, the first amendment. it has its origins in the bill of rights of virginia. i am happy to say that because i teach in virginia. i am very proud of that. when i am asking for is a double request. reassert our commitment to the first amendment. throughout history, it has shown that it is a very valuable part of what the u.s. is about.
10:35pm
in fact, i think this is one of the major attractions of the u.s. to immigrants who leave their countries. they truly believe that in this country, they can have a free and dignified being the they have missed elsewhere. the supreme court throughout the years has elaborated and emphasized the basic principles of the first amendment. chief justice rehnquist emphasizes that political devices cannot serve to invalidate otherwise permissible conduct. whatever we might feel about the person -- person sitting next to us, they have rights. even if we politically disagree, that is no reason to be a in a way that would infringe on those rights. furthermore, the first amendment's -- first amendment
10:36pm
states that the powers of the government should reach actions only and not opinions. it is wonderful that we could all sit here and we are protected by the first amendment. with all sorts of misinformation about is llama -- is llama. that misinformation does not comfort -- many muslims themselves are misinformed about their religion. i feel that a major part of my responsibility in this country is to educate muslims about what
10:37pm
the koran release has spread since i am a woman, we run class is in which we teach a muslim women about the rights that are guaranteed to them by their own religion. what is surprising about all this is that most of the women we teach our surprised that they have all these rights. there is a stereotype, a very negative stereotype about islam. it goes around even in the muslim community because they do not see it as negative. they have misinformation about islam, but they do not up -- they do not understand that this holy book has basically the principles of the first amendment in it. historically, muslim communities have practiced religious tolerance.
10:38pm
this is nothing new. it started 100 years ago. it might that have been as good, as perfect a practice, but it was done and it was done in n/a historical error out where nobody else practiced it. when islam was tolerance and welcomed diversity and used it to develop society as opposed to fighting progress, if islam did that, how come we forgot all these important achievements and we went to a patriarchal understanding that has caused a lot of pain? my message today is that we really need a serious conversation about islam. by that, also include the
10:39pm
muslims. we need a serious conversation, not based on the demagoguery of someone, but on a serious study of the text. it shows that democracy is at the heart of islam is the the concept of consultative approach, at the the separation of powers, to the election of the head of state. none of this we see today in some countries. he feels that this is a most congenial country to be in for muslims because it represents more of the principles of islam that we believe in. if we are going to talk about islamic law, i would mention one versus, which is paraphrased by
10:40pm
jefferson. it could be that they both -- it could be dead jefferson thought of it on his own. -- it could be that jefferson thought of it on his own. there is a burst that says there is no compulsion in religion. -- verse that says there is no compulsion in religion. it also advocates what is referred to as an equitable work with other religions. communication, even if somebody talks to you court acts towards you in a way that is hostile, return the bad deed with a good one. ultimately, that this person who is unhappy with you will one day become your friends. human beings, and the end, are
10:41pm
good people. they understand that if you are not out there to hurt them and you are friendly, they will come around. i would like to seek a serious conversation started in this country. i do not know where this came from white is a been discussed in the united states as a threat? maybe you can enlighten me during the q&a. american muslims have been living under the american laws for -- ever since they came to this country. a lot of people think that muslims are recent visitors to this country or immigrants. it is not true. i would like to end by reading a verse. we should guide all of our actions -- is chapter 14.
10:42pm
a good word is like a good retreat -- a good tree whose roots are firmly fixed and branches reach up to heaven. it brings forth a truth at all times. let us all strive for the good word. thank you. [applause] >> good morning. my daughter used to tease me. about 10 years ago, she said, it must be fun to be 55 because you get to meet new people every day. she introduced me to refine one day and a couple of days later, kelly was over again and she said, you and khalid? i said, i do not think so.
10:43pm
i get that feeling when we have this discussion. it seems that every time we have to start talking again about what is this all about and who are these people and what is his religion all about? at some point, it began to dinah sat there is something we need to know and that we ought to pay attention to. let's do it one more time. it was shortly after september 11, i was invited by bill clinton to nyu to a panel that he had organized. americans were in shock. people in new york had a lot of questions that they wanted answered. we recognize the importance of doing that and what we did was begin to talk about muslim americans. what i did before i went to the session is i called a lot of friends to get some anecdotes
10:44pm
and poured over my mind in the 30 years i have been doing this work. i have a doctorate in islamic studies. i have organized arab-americans for as long as i can remember. i have been polling arab- americans and american muslims prayed putting it all together, i pulled some stories about a young woman who was a premed student, an idealist. she told me one day, i am not going to be like my father. i want to practice my religion by opening a clinic for the portrait that is how i would practice my faith. then there was a guy i knew in cincinnati reminded me so much of my father, he took me to the mosque that he had helped raise the money to build. he was so proud of the building. he toward me around and showed me that they got this from syria and he had that donated from 119 nd brought all these wonderful
10:45pm
artifacts in. i reminded me of my father's and my uncles. -- father and my uncles. that sense that immigrants to get to the pride they have been building and establishing their institutions in the new world trade he died a couple of years later, but in two years after he died, i had the opportunity to get his son an internship at the white house. as a block across pennsylvania avenue, the kid tear up and said, i wish my dad could see me now. he would be so proud. this is why he came to this country. a young girl from yemen, there was a fight in the school. it started because the principal insisted that the muslim students had to go to the cafeteria during lunchtime. the kids ask for the opportunity to go to a study hall. she said, no.
10:46pm
during the lunch period, kids were throwing hand at the muslim students. it was something that started provocation which started out -- ended up being a fight for it this 14-year-old girl came to me and said, i have the solution. i went to the principle and i told him, the problem is that we did not understand each other. she said, they did not understand my culture and if you would help us, maybe we could explain our culture to them. he snapped back at her, my job is not to have you teach your court shall -- culture. it is for you to learn my culture. she continued to fight and she has done the work she set out to do at 14. today, she is a professional intercurrent -- intercultural communications. there were so many other stories. it reminded me so much of my
10:47pm
background. people like us are americans. they have pride in their faith and pride in their heritage and share the american dream and want to succeed and value the values of america. it is an american story. it is a community not unlike other communities. the anecdotes tell that story, but our polling does as well. léopold -- leopold ethnic americans. irish, italian, polish. what we learned about muslims than was really quite fascinating. the diversity of the community is extraordinary. probably the single largest group is african-american. after that, you of arab-american and south asian american. the growing numbers of iranian
10:48pm
american and turkish iranians and pulled some african countries do, each one of them as you meet them, remind you of the immigrant stories of every other group that is, to americans in terms of their values and aspirations. he will tell you with enormous pride what they are doing in college. it is the american story. that comes through in the polling that we have done. what we learn is, for example, is that the values of muslims in america track closely the values of other ethnic americans. in particular, catholics prayed like catholics, they lean progressive. on a number of fiscal issues. supporting health care or strengthening social security or school funding or funding to clean the environment.
10:49pm
but then they leave -- lean conservative on social issues. like family values or abortion or tough on crime or a tough on a loss that would fight terrorism. the income of muslim americans is likely higher than the average -- and the national average. moscow attendance is about the same -- mosque attendance is about the same as church attendance. the belief in the american dream is the same. this is what we know. this is the story that we told after 9/11 and this is the story that we tell again today. president bush got it completely right. the problem is not islam. the problem are people who have
10:50pm
used islam to commit violent acts against our country and our people. what happened after 9/11 morales in these questions is that a cottage industry of those who actually had an ax to grind against the religion of islam and against muslims and against arabs, they ended up providing most of the answers. they wrote books and got them published. they testified before congress and a dominated the airwaves on radio and television. i will never forget a hearing that was held in the senate on is lomb featuring three guys -- if you have the reverse and three muslims were testifying on the nature of today's them in an arab country, it was successful for this to happen. the lies they told and the bigotry that the spread was terrific.
10:51pm
yet, people were just nodding in the audience because that is all they heard. that is all they were in a position to hear. these guys conflated every incident of violence and some -- as somehow evidence that they were right. they have done enormous damage. shortly after 9/11, but we found was that people still had a very favorable attitude toward islam. today, but we poll, they do not. back then, three-quarters of americans said they felt they needed to know more than they wanted to know more about islam and about most slums. today, less than half say they need to know more. on terrible abuse have risen, but bad information has -- unfavorable views have risen, but that information has risen as well. it merits and certitude are probably the most dangerous combination of all.
10:52pm
you talk about sharia and -- we went into iraq not having a clue and yet a month later, people were talking about shiites as if they knew what the difference was. if you could put two words in a sentence, you became an expert and you got on television to talk about it. if this were not enough, this cast of characters organized not only information campaigns, but they organize politically. they were the ones who are organizing against park 51. this is the danger. it is a danger to the image of our country abroad. it flies in the face of the wise counsel offered by george w. bush. it is a danger to our values, but it is also a danger to the very social fabric of who we are
10:53pm
as a country. a few years back, i was invited to speak in warsaw and and other places in europe to talk about the difference. people want to know what the difference was between america and europe and why are your muslim and arab communities not alienated? why had they resented the top in your countries in ways that they have not done so -- risen to the top in your countries in ways they have not done so here? we as a nation have always been different. we have been different in the sense that america as a concept is different and america as a reality is different. no ethnic group defines who we are. no religion defines who we are. bigots have had their way over time, but in the end, the notion of america as an observer to entity that transforms people -- you not just a passport here. you get an identity as a new person.
10:54pm
it is an alchemy that transform you into becoming americans. you can be a occurred in germany for three generations and you'll always be -- kurd and you'll always be a kurd. you can get citizenship, but you never get the nationality. you never get the sense that i am part of these people. the narrative does not include you. but the study lewis and clark, i went with them. when washington crossed the delaware, i was on the boats. there was a sense you had that it was your story. it was not somebody else's story. that is we are as a country. what troubles me is that what is at stake in this story is not about a building. it is not about a place. it is about the narrative of who we are as a people.
10:55pm
if these guys when, whatever the outcome, if these guys win, america will not be america anymore. the story may very well be like that of the muslim community in france or in germany and that would be devastating for the social fabric of our country. i will leave it there. i hope we do not have to have this discussion and again in this way. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, doctor. i know we have a lot of questions. despicable ground rules. make sure it is a question and not a speech. -- a couple of ground rules. make sure it is a question and not a speech. and of respect from our friends from c-span, they will come around and make their best efforts to get the microphone above the use of that you can have your question heard to the
10:56pm
rest of the country. let me start off with a quick question picking up on what the doctor talked about. i have been getting this question quite a bit, both from france and the media. post 9/11, we suffered this correct this attack, the country seem to pull together. while there were incidences of retaliation and some incidents against muslim americans and people perceived to be muslim american, why is this coming up now, eight or nine years later? why is there now a call to stop the construction of mosques across the country? there are over 2000 mosques in the country and a population has grown. why is this coming to a head now? >> there is a general mood of floods in the country --
10:57pm
afoot in the country. it is part and parcel of the unraveling that is taking place. we saw it began last summer. i think some of that has to do with the fact that we have elected an african-american president and some folks just can digest it. there is no question that the economic distress and the social dislocation that has occurred as part of it. i think at the same time, eight or nine years of disinformation has taken a toll. if the social conditions were not there, it this unraveling was not there, i do not then we would see its in exactly the same way. it is classic nativism. we have seen it in our history before. we had the anti asian backlash
10:58pm
in the early part of the last century. shortly after, we had an anti southern european. italians got lynched. there was a push to deny immigration. we had the same kind of thing. then we had the entire german a wave as well. in series of -- in periods of economic stress, this begins to happen. it has been fuelled by bigotry and ignorance. another factor is that the president himself is in a bind. george bush was able to come and speak out. if barack obama comes and speaks out as forcefully, you've got 20% of the public thinks he is muslim are ready and hold that against him. in some ways, he is in a bind. it puts the rest of the country
10:59pm
in a bind and that where it does leadership come from on this? how can leadership speak forcefully about it? it is a terrible situation. we do a new political leadership instead of fanning the flames as some are doing. when the political leadership to do the right thing. -- we need political leadership to do the right thing. the very social fabric of the country is at stake here. >> i agree with everything that you have said. we're at a crossroads in our society in terms of how we define america. is america at an exclusive club? or are we going to live up to our values? when people start questioning the christianity of our president, i think that is a form of religious nationalism. they are using religion to say,